Turkey meatballs and spaghetti

(Food styling/Sheryl Julian and Lisa Falso; Photo by Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
December 9, 2009

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Serves 4 with leftovers


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or red or black pepper, to taste.


1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup 1 percent or 2 percent milk
2 pounds mixed light and dark ground turkey
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound spaghetti
1cup freshly grated Parmesan (for sprinkling)
1. In a bowl large enough to hold all the turkey, soak the bread crumbs in milk for 20 minutes.

2. Add the turkey, bread crumb mixture, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, egg, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix with your hands or a fork to blend them well.

3. With wet hands, shape the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. You should get about 30. Carefully drop them, one at a time, into the simmering sauce. Gently move them around with a wooden spoon so they’re all covered by sauce.

4. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through. If the sauce seems too thick, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time.

5. Use a slotted spoon to remove about 15 meatballs from the sauce. Place in a plastic container and set aside to cool; refrigerate (these are for the soup).

6. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti for 8 minutes or until it is tender but still has some bite. Drain into a colander without rinsing (sauce adheres better when you don’t wash off the starch).

7. Divide the spaghetti among 4 large shallow bowls. Add meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Lisa Zwirn